Polar Bears Before Patients - More Climate Madness

If you're in touch with surgical procedures in the UK's National Health Service, you might have noticed an increase in the number of operations, formerly carried out under general anaesthetic, now being carried out under various forms of local anaesthesia. Generally, this is a harmless change, but undoubtedly some patients are being subtly pressured into this 'choice'. The question 'why' is now answered! It's just another consequence of the global elite's hysterical 'war on carbon' and their fake 'climate emergency'. 

The truth has become clear with the news that NHS Scotland and NHS England are the first health systems in the world to announce a phase-out of desflurane - an anaesthetic gas formerly widely used. NHS Scotland has announced an immediate ban on desflurane use, while NHS England is committed to phasing it out by 2024.  

The reason given is the claim that the gas has 2,500 times more 'global warming' impact than carbon dioxide. According to an article in the climate alarmist magazine NoHarm-Europe: "In most cases, alternative anaesthetic gases with a significantly lower global warming potential can be used without affecting clinical practice". This, clearly, is an admission that, in some cases at least, the ban will affect clinical practice - i.e. have a harmful effect on patients.

Other gases are set to follow, with even the 'laughing gas' used by many women in childbirth facing the axe.

So, once again, the climate alarmists show they are all too ready to harm human beings for the sake of the polar bears which are supposed to be threatened by 'climate change' (even though, in the real world their numbers are exploding).

Highlighting that the ban on desflurane is just the first step of their National Green Theatres Programme, NHS Scotland has also set a target to be net zero for anaesthetic gases by 2027. 

“Volatile anaesthetic gases contribute a large part of the carbon footprint from surgical procedures. It is important to stop using desflurane to reduce that burden. The first action of NHS Scotland's National Green Theatres Programme is to stop using desflurane from February 2023 and we welcome NHS England’s announcement to eliminate desflurane by early 2024. Ultimately, we should aspire to embed environmental sustainability into all our clinical and management decisions."  - Kenneth Barker, Clinical Lead - National Green Theatres Programme (NHS Highland)

With support from the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Association of Anaesthetists, NHS England made a similar announcement stating that it will stop using desflurane, except in exceptional circumstances, across its operations by early 2024. By phasing out this harmful anaesthetic gas, they expect to reduce emissions by around 40 kilotonnes of carbon a year - the equivalent of powering a mere 11,000 homes every year.

“Thanks to the efforts of NHS staff up and down the country, along with the support of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Association of Anaesthetists, we can and will put anaesthetic emissions to bed. For the benefit of patients and the planet,” wrote Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer - NHS.

Anaesthetic gases used in operating theatres are said to be 'potent greenhouse gases'. Commonly used anaesthetics include nitrous oxide and the fluorinated gases sevoflurane, isoflurane, and desflurane are all being demonised.

The Amsterdam University Medical Centre has already phased out several anaesthetic gases, including nitrous oxide, desflurane, and isoflurane. At the same time, the centre has also reduced its use of sevoflurane by 70% - significantly reducing related emissions. 

“Decommissioning desflurane is a step in the right direction for the NHS as desflurane is the most harmful anaesthetic currently in use. Inhalational anaesthetics are all potent greenhouse gases, and limiting their use is one of the most effective measures a healthcare system can implement on the road to achieving carbon neutrality. I hope that other countries will follow this example.”  - Dr. Niek Sperna Weiland, Anaestheosiologist - Amsterdam University Medical Centre

Since all NHS hospitals already face heavy fines for greenhouse gas emissions, all this makes it clear that - without a word of public debate - the NHS has ALREADY been forcing through cutbacks in the use of anaesthetic gases. Never mind if some patients are distressed or harmed by being denied generals - just think of the budget, and the polar bears!

The European Commission has proposed a ban on fluorinated greenhouse gases, including desflurane, under the European Green Deal. If successful, it will come into effect on 1 January 2026 and prohibit the use of desflurane as an inhalation anaesthetic across EU member states unless strictly required on medical grounds. So Britain, despite being freed from EU redtape, is now ahead of Brussels in imposing barking mad 'green' diktats. "You couldn't make it up!"

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